Employers' perception of non-clinical graduate degrees in the health professions

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Southern New Hampshire University
This quantitative research studied the perceptions of individuals who screen employment applications in local health departments regarding non-clinical graduate health care degrees based on their perceptions of credibility of method of instructional delivery (classroom, online) and the type of college/university (nonprofit, for-profit). As more institutions award degrees earned online, it is important to understand marketplace acceptance of online degrees. It is paramount we understand how employers view degrees earned online compared to traditionally-earned degrees, as well as understand perceptions of nonprofit and for-profit colleges. If certain degrees are not perceived as credible, then students and institutions of higher education need to better understand marketplace perceptions to make good educational and financial decisions. An email was sent to 1,935 members of the National Association of County and City Health Officials. Undeliverable emails resulted in 1,804 possible participants. Participation was 12.1% (n=218). The results found a significant difference in local health administrator perceptions of four non-clinical graduate health care degree options. Specifically, non-clinical graduate health care degrees from nonprofit colleges with classroom instruction were viewed most favorably, as was expected. Non-clinical graduate health care degrees earned from for-profit colleges with online instruction were viewed least favorably. The two degree options, online from nonprofit and classroom instruction from for-profit colleges, were viewed equally by the participants. This study established a new line of inquiry regarding the acceptance by employers of non-clinical graduate health care degrees earned online or in the classroom, and from nonprofit or for-profit colleges. (Author abstract)